Category Archives: UK

The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes

A new exhibition has just opened in London. Set under a huge tent in a car park by the Southbank, it features some of the Lego artwork by award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya. The focus here is DC Superheroes. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the like – so to be clear.

But who is Nathan Sawaya, I hear you ask.
Former attorney, he quit his day job in 2004 to become an artist. A LEGO artist! His artwork combines the creativity of an artist and the precision of an engineer. His production is now featured in museums worldwide and his global touring exhibitions have attracted enthusiastic comments from art critics. This guy has already become my hero.

As the owner of Lego keyrings in the shape of Batman and Batgirl, I felt that this exhibition was something not to be missed. So I went on its day two.

And I loved it!

The exhibition features more than 120 original pieces ranging from Superheroes (real scale as well as half size) to reproductions of iconic covers of DC Comics magazine. All is made in Lego bricks and I can only begin to imagine the painstaking effort of building the pieces to such incredible level of detail!

 Some may wonder whether this can be defined art. Well I think this is definitely a form of art and all credit goes to Nathan Sawaya for taking Lego into the art world as a medium!

Magical Lantern Festival in London

The Year of the Monkey is here!

According to the Chinese calendar, Monday 8th February 2016 is the first day of the New Year.
London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations are the biggest in the world outside China, and usually revolve around a main parade between Trafalgar Square and Chinatown.
This year, however, an additional event is having a huge success around town: the Magical Lantern Festival!

Set in the gardens of Chiswick House, in West London, this huge installation is described as an extravaganza of lights and illumination, and will entertain you for well over an hour.

Giant hand-sculpted lanterns are scattered along the exhibition trail, with subjects ranging from animals to plants and flowers, to fairytale scenes. It is totally amazing and you will feel like a child in a magical playground!

And when you reach the end, all you want to do is to turn around and do it all over again…

A photo from my archives: Live 8 London

London, UK, 2005.

2nd July 2005.
A string of concerts took place in 10 different locations around the globe. Watched by an estimated 3 billion people, it was defined the greatest show on Earth!

Someone from the London hostel where I was staying had a spare ticket for the “Live 8 screens area” in Hyde Park. I took it. The opportunity to be part of this huge event couldn’t be missed, and it didn’t really matter that we were not allowed into the area where the Live 8 concert itself was held. It was only a few hundred meters away anyway.

So armed with bags of crisps, snacks and drinks we went. And from 2pm until late night we watched world famous bands and singers appear on stage and deliver some of their best music (check out the line up here). The crowd sang and danced all the time, and the atmosphere was incredible!
For a non festival-goer like me, Live 8 London remains a great memory, and its upcoming 10th anniversary a good excuse to post this photo of my (now long lost) ticket!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

I was experimenting with my camera in the streets of central London when I took this photo of a cyclist. The result has a bit of a painting-effect (no photo editing used, though) :-)

Featuring in the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

Millennium Bridge, London

London "Millennium Bridge"
London, Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in central London and connects the two banks of the River Thames approximately from the Tate Modern gallery to St Paul’s Cathedral. Nicknamed the “Wobbly Bridge”, it is crossed by thousands of tourists everyday and provides great views of St Paul’s Cathedral from across the river.

As I captured in my photo, pigeons love resting on the bridge, giving an opportunity for some interesting photographs!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

A dialogue between two cities (London and Luang Prabang) via their most common forms of public transport and places of worship.

Featuring in the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

A photo from my archives: An acrobat

air acrobat circus

UK, 2009

During a stay in the Lake District region of the UK, I stumbled across a group of air acrobats who were rehearsing before performing at a local festival.

I stopped to watch them. The shapes created by their bodies moving in the air fascinated me. I stood there for over an hour taking dozens of photos. The one above is one of my favourites.


Photographing the PrudentialRideLondon 2014

UKPhotogallery_001Have you ever heard of the Prudential RideLondon?
Ok, let me tell you about it. The Prudential RideLondon  is a festival of cycling events that takes place in London and Surrey around mid August. The key events are the two main races: the London-Surrey 100 (open to amateur cyclists via a ballot) and the London-Surrey Classic (for professionals).  It’s great to watch! Well, it’s not as popular as the Tour de France – yet! – but it’s a fantastic event.

Around 23,000 cyclists took part in 2014. I was going to be one of them. I had won a place.
Then things changed. And I ended up as photographer for one of the charities!
It all started with a series of emails and a portfolio submission. Then  an email saying “Yes you are in”. A meeting in a pub on a Friday evening, with a printed brief of what the charity expected and a map of the allocated sites, sealed the deal.
Uh, and there was also a t-shirt to pick up.

And then Sunday 10th August arrived. The day of the race! The weather forecast was terrible so I packed up rain gear and a change of clothes. Then Wimbledon Hill, here I come!

The rest is history: six solid hours of sports photography, mostly in torrential rain, always looking for the best spots along the cycling route as it unwinded in the Wimbledon area, never taking my eyes off the road so that I wouldn’t miss opportunities. Soaking wet after an hour but not giving up!
Here’s the tired cyclist who is puffing after climbing the steep Wimbledon Hill.
There is a sprinter who whizzes past the crowd all focused on the timing.
Over there a mother with two kids who are trying to spot daddy in the group of cyclists that’s arriving. Their smiles as he cycles past and waves at them are priceless.

All my praises go to the cyclists who braved the adverse weather conditions and defied rain, wind and hurricane to take part in the race. When the sun finally came out, the atmosphere around was incredible!Chiara

I will leave you with some of the photos I took on the day. And a mention about the charity I did this for: it’s called Bliss and it gives vital support & care to premature babies in the UK.